With the COVID-19 Pandemic still making sports returning to play a daunting task, high school teams are trying to find ways in which they can still participate in smaller grouped team activities. In order for Michigan athletics at all levels to be played in a familiar style, the state will have to reach Phase 5 of Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s reopening plan.
The Michigan High School Athletic Association (MHSAA) has been working with Governor Whitmer’s office in order to form a timeline and precautions that will make it possible for sports to return to play safely. When the MHSAA announced last week that there would be no delay in the fall sports schedule due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, the DeWitt Panthers was more than pleased.
“I was excited I mean obviously this is my last year at, my last chance at fulfilling our goals as a team and I’m just really excited and happy that we’re getting this opportunity to play,” said senior linebacker Andrew Debri.
“We’re in day in and day out getting ready for the season so putting all this work in the summer,” said junior quarterback Tyler Holtz. “Getting ready for the fall, haven’t that come to reality is really what’s most important to our team.”
During the smaller grouped summer workouts, high school football teams across the state of Michigan are changing the way they are preparing for the fall season. The DeWitt Panthers have changed their schedules and are taking the proper precautions necessary to return to play safely. However, one thing that won’t change this year is the Panthers commitment to being a physical football team.
“We wanna come out and we wanna hit you in the mouth every single play and I feel like if everybody’s on that same page it’s, it’s pretty tough,” said Debri.
DeWitt’s Head Coach, Rob Zimmerman, knows the physical style of play that his program is known for is what will continue to bring them success.
“To compete with the top programs in the state you have to have a physicality about you and so that’s always been a focal point for us,” said Zimmerman. “Many of these guys played last year and I think that’s one of their greatest attributes is there is a lot of toughness in this group and you know I think that’s always gonna be something that we stress and every good program does.”
The MHSAA and it’s Representative Council will continue to meet throughout the week before their next announcement, scheduled for July 29th. That announcement is set to detail the precautions each sport will have to take in order to return to play safely throughout the school year. Stay with 6-Sports for more information on sports returning to play safely.